Justice Impeachment Bill Heads To Kansas House After Break

Apr 3, 2016

Before the Kansas Legislature went on spring break last month, a Senate committee pushed forward a bill that would expand the grounds for impeachment of Supreme Court justices. The controversial legislation says that justices could be impeached for "attempting to usurp the the power of the legislative or judicial branch of government."

Kansas Rep. Melissa Rooker (R-Fairway) joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast to discuss her issues with the bill and its prospects in the House of Representatives when legislators return.

 

The representative expressed a strong opinion that the bill was an attempt by the Legislature to consolidate power, and undermine the control of the court in retaliation for a series of decisions that have angered legislative leadership.  

 

“This is an administration that would like to control the outcome of court proceedings, and that’s a very dangerous thing,” said Rooker.

 

The bill passed narrowly in the Senate 21 to 19. Rooker said she expects the same close margin in the House and wouldn't deny that the bill has a possibility of passing the House. However, she said that opposition will be putting up a strong fight.

 

“This is the protection our citizens have against the overreach of the government,” Rooker said.

 

Proponents of the bill argue that Supreme Court justices need to be reined in. Sen. Forrest Knox told reporter Stephen Koranda last month that the bill is meant to keep checks and balances in place.

 

"We have arrived at a point today in this country, in this state, where specifically Supreme Court justices have become kings, where there is no check," says Knox.

 

The bill is expected to be taken up in the House at the end of this month when the Legislature returns.

 

Subscribe to Statehouse Blend to keep up with the Kansas and Missouri legislatures.

 

Guests on this episode:

  • Melissa Rooker, (R-Fairway), Kansas Legislature
  • Scott Morgan, Retired Editor and Attorney, Lawrence, KS
  • Dan Margolies, Heartland Health Monitor Editor, KCUR

Matt Hodapp produces Statehouse Blend at KCUR. Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.